The Royal College of Art, London, held their Fashion graduates show this weekend. The thirty graduating students specialising in menswear, womenswear, knitwear and millinery presented their final collections in a two day event that included a Fundraising Gala Dinner attended by many fashion industry professionals, high-profile Fashion alumni, sponsors, journalists and celebrity guests.
The RCA is a prestigious school known for it’s high quality of creative talents such as Erdem, Eudon Choi, Christopher Raeburm, Matthew Miller, Katie Eary and Aitor Throup among their many successful alumni.
Starting the event, the Italian menswear label Brioni announced the winners of a tailoring competition of the students enrolled in the Menswear Fashion programme. The focus on the project was the development and realisation of sartorial garments. Previous years the participating students involved in the Brioni projects were led by creative themes such as The Dinner Jacket (2007-2008); The Travel Jacket (2008-2009); The Shirt (2009-2010); The Coat (2010-2011); and The Blazer (2011-2012) this year the theme was ‘The Lounge Suit,’ a point of versatility as regards the tailored suit. The concept was launched by Creative Director Brendan Mullane.
As part of the initiative, the nine Menswear students spent a week at Brioni’s atelier in Abruzzo, Italy, to experience the manufacturing processes and to work closely with Brioni’s chief master tailor, Angelo Petrucci, improving their skills in the field of tailoring. Once they returned to London, the students were given time to work on their designs. The nine suits were rendered and exhibited at the Brioni boutique in London on 31 May, and presented to the Jury, made up of Creative Director Mullane, the Rector of the Royal College of Art, Paul Thompson, and several important Fashion Industry professionals
This year, awards were made in three categories:
The Brioni Award -for Best Expression of Brioni Excellence was awarded to Dan Prasad
The Creativity Award – for Most Creative and Innovative Design was awarded to Sungbin Choand.
The Tailoring Award – for the Best Union of Sartorial Principles with Contemporary Fit, was awarded to Ellen Pedersen.
Following these awards the 30 students of menswear, womenswear and knitwear presented their collections including footwear and accessories.
Professor Wendy Dagworthy one of the founders of London Fashion Week, is retiring from the RCA this year after a 16-year tenure said of the show ‘There is a lot of fabric manipulation going on, ‘The students are all inspired by different things, so the collections are very individual, but there’s a powerful theme overall. The School of Materials has clearly had an effect. We encourage research into new materials and we allow students to go into workshops in different fields and experiment.’
Louise Bennetts’ collection was particularly interesting not only for the strong silhouettes and exposed corset bones but also for her use of a cork canvas material, supplied by Portuguese company Pelcor Items, which she said had been mistaken for leather on multiple occasions, and glossy black jackets made from horsehair canvas woven by English company John Boyd Textiles. “The materials are unique, and consistently mistaken for being things that they’re not – it’s great fun revealing to people what they really are.”
Katherine Roberts-Wood’s collection marks a synergistic approach between textile technique development and silhouette. The linking layered technique creates fabric and form through repetition of a single unit: a wave; reflecting natural and mathematical influences.
Marta Jakubowski created a train of material to connect five of the outfits in her MA Fashion collection. She used long lengths of lightweight jersey, one was made from 17 metres of material, the red, white and black strips led from long, flowing outfits in the same colours attached with metal headpieces. She combined light materials like jersey and crepe with neoprene for heavier garments.
Speaking about her students, Professor Wendy Dagworthy commented “On BAs they are more worried about the marks – when they’re going to get a job, or if they’re going to get a job, or when they’re going to become famous. It’s not about that; it’s about you personally. I think we want students to take risks like we did when we were younger, because there were no set rules, there was no one to follow, you just did it yourself.”
The show marked the last for Professor Wendy Dagworthy OBE who had led the renowned fashion programme since 1998. She counts Burberry’s Christopher Bailey, Nina Ricci’s Peter Copping and Chloé’s Clare Waight Keller among her student alumni.
Congratulations to all the graduates of the Royal College Of Art
photography RCA/Dominic Tschudin